President Asif Ali Zardari has appealed to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to allow the release and repatriation of Dr Khalil Chishty to Pakistan on humanitarian grounds.
Presidential spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the president made this appeal in a personal letter addressed to Manmohan Singh. The letter was sent to Pakistan’s high commissioner in India on Friday for delivery to the Indian prime minister, he added.
The letter entreats the Indian premier to intervene in the matter of Dr Chishty’s release and repatriation given his advanced age and delicate health. It adds that a kind gesture on Singh’s part would increase goodwill and add to the momentum generated after the resumption of composite dialogue between the two countries.
According to Babar’s statement, the president had also broached the subject during his meeting with Singh in New Delhi last Sunday.
Dr Chishty was sentenced for killing a man during a brawl in the Indian city of Ajmer in April 1992. He was on a pilgrimage to the shrine of famous Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty. He has not been allowed to travel back to Pakistan since then.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2012.